LSU Online & Continuing Education Commemorates 100 Years

LSU OCE team

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of LSU Online & Continuing Education and LSU’s commitment to high-quality continuing education. Since its inception in 1924, the division has had more than 2 million enrollments and has offered a wide range of courses to meet the needs of learners across a variety of industries and walks of life.

The Role of Online and Continuing Education

"We are excited to recognize this major milestone in our program's history and are creating new ways and greater opportunities to provide educational enrichment to a vast array of people who can benefit from our offerings," said Lisa Verma, Senior Director of Professional Development at LSU Online & Continuing Education. "For 100 years, we have been committed to providing accessible and flexible education options that empower individuals to reach their full potential and achieve their goals, and we believe the future will be even brighter."

LSU Executive Vice President and Provost Roy Haggerty also highlighted the importance of continuing education in advancing instruction and fostering workforce development. "Continuing education plays a crucial role in helping individuals stay competitive in the ever-evolving job market. LSU Online & Continuing Education has been instrumental in providing learners with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers while also improving lifestyle and personal wellbeing."

Haggerty said that LSU Online & Continuing Education will be a point of emphasis as the university enhances its focus on preparing people for jobs in many different industries, affirming its commitment to being a leader in the space.

In fact, one of the program's most popular courses, Fundamentals of Supervision has helped professionals develop essential leadership skills for over 60 years. The course is taught by four instructors, one of which is the course’s longest-tenured instructor, Courtland Chaney, a 40-year veteran of LSU Online & Continuing Education and a retired College of Business faculty.

Diverse Learners

Verma emphasized that LSU Online & Continuing Education appeals to a diverse audience by offering a wide variety of topics. Its Professional Development offerings allow participants to pursue certificates and certifications in fields including behavioral sciences, accounting, auditing, business, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, digital marketing, and sales, among others.

The Online Distance Program allows students to earn college credits toward their degrees through virtual classes with the same engaging content as those who attend in person. Some tracks can be completed in as little as four weeks. Participants do not have to be enrolled at LSU to take these classes and can transfer credits to degree programs at other colleges and universities. Similarly, the Paralegal Program helps prepare individuals, graduates and future law students for a range of careers in law.

Science and Engineering Fair and OLLI

LSU Online & Continuing Education supports the Louisiana Science & Engineering Fair, Verma said, which advances middle and high school STEM education for future science and technology leaders.

In addition, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offers a variety of classes and activities for adults 50 and older, such as yoga, aquatic exercise, and history and literature courses. In addition, field trips to cultural attractions keep seniors active and engaged. There are OLLI chapters in Baton Rouge, St. Francisville and Slidell, with specialized offerings at each location. The Crescent City chapter is OLLI’s newest addition and will begin offering courses in New Orleans starting in Fall 2024.

Cannabis and New Technology

To evolve with new technology and markets, LSU Online & Continuing Education is continuously expanding its offerings into new and emerging fields. Verma points to five new certificate courses – four are online based – in legal medical cannabis education. Louisiana anticipates more than $400 million in legal cannabis sales by 2025 and LSU is one of two license holders in the state for the production of medical marijuana. “We are staying relevant by providing training to industries that are both well established and emerging,” Verma said.

History of LSU Online & Continuing Education

In 1924 LSU President Thomas Boyd wanted to extend LSU's reach beyond the traditional campus setting by offering correspondence courses (learning by mail) and extension classes (classes offered outside the main campus).

Over the past century, this initiative has grown exponentially:

  • 1924: LSU establishes its University Extension program, a hallmark of lifelong learning opportunities.
  • 1941: Correspondence courses for servicemen deployed overseas began.
  • 1944: The Servicemen's Readjustment Act (G.I. Bill) fuels a surge in enrollment as returning veterans seek educational opportunities. Joseph Brouillette is named director. He believes the division's mission is "to be a service department that extends educational opportunities to people in all sections of the state."
  • 1950s: Continuing Education launches the Science & Engineering Region VII and State Fairs for middle and high school students. These fairs are still taking place.
  • 1960s & 70s: Expansion of non-credit programs in areas like leadership, law enforcement training, fire safety, and computer skills.
  • 1992: The Evening School launches, offering full degree programs to part-time and adult students.
  • 1996: Lagniappe Studies Unlimited, a learning program for adults aged 50 and over, is established.
  • 2007: The Bernard Osher Foundation approves the OLLI at LSU program, which provides enrichment opportunities for the over-50 population. Now supported by a $2 million endowment.
  • 2012: LSU Online launches, making LSU education accessible through online degree and certificate programs.
  • 2019: The division is renamed LSU Online & Continuing Education (OCE).
  • 2020: LSU OCE supports the LSU system's transition to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 2024: Partnering with state industry, LSU Continuing Education has received over $32,407,574.74 in workforce development grants through the Louisiana Workforce Commission Incumbent Worker Training Program. We’ve been awarded over $4,302,300 from the Louisiana Department of Child & Family Services since 2005 to provide essential training for DCFS employees.

A Year Of Excellence

LSU Office of Continuing Education is excited to continue commemorations of its 100-year anniversary this year with additional events and initiatives. Stakeholders in diverse industries and communities across the state will participate in events designed to raise awareness and drive enrollment.

About LSU Online & Continuing Education

LSU Online & Continuing Education is a pioneer in lifelong learning for those seeking to enhance their education and advance their careers. With a wide range of courses and programs, LSU Online & Continuing Education is committed to helping individuals reach their full potential and achieve their goals.

For more information about LSU Online & Continuing Education and its centennial celebration, please visit the program's website at

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